Dispensationalism: the Key to Bible Prophecy (part 1)

By Cris D. Putnam
DISPENSTION-History-chartArguably from the inception of the church (although lost under Romanism), dispensationalism has been and still is the key to biblical prophecy. Since its recovery in the nineteenth century there have been three major versions: classic (Darby, Larkin and Scofield), revised (Walvoord, Pentecost, Chafer, and Towns), and progressive (Bock, Blaising, Feinberg and Saucy) dispensationalism. All divide history based on God’s covenants as successive revelations in the progression of God’s redemptive program and sustain a premillennial futurist interpretation of prophecy. As a founding member of the revised school, Charles Ryrie emphasized three elements: 1) Distinction between church and Israel;[i] 2) Philosophy of History;[ii] 3) Literal interpretation of scripture.[iii] He offers strong and compelling arguments against covenant theology which is the system of theology that centers on two contrived covenants: the covenant of works and the covenant of grace.[iv] It typically dismisses God’s actual covenant promises to Israel and argues that most all of prophecy is fulfilled in Christ. While I’m largely in agreement with Ryrie that covenant theology is an artificial system lacking biblical support, I do think progressive dispensationalists make some good points.

Concerning point one, I strongly disagree with supercessionism (that the church has entirely superseded Israel or replacement theology). I believe God will fulfill His Old Testament promises as they were understood, not in the decontextualized manner applied to the Church found in Roman Catholicism and unfortunately most of evangelical covenant theology. In this sense, the reformers stopped short. God made specific promises to the descendants of Jacob and David concerning their ancestral line, the land and political sovereignty. Only the Mosaic covenant was conditional. The Abrahamic (Gen 12) and Davidic (2 Sam. 7) were unconditional and everlasting. The Davidic is often overlooked:

“And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’(2 Sa 7:10–17 cf. 1 Chron. 17)

Like the Abrahamic covenant, the Davidic covenant was irrevocable—“established forever” and despite innumerable acts of unfaithfulness on Israel’s part, God will be absolutely faithful. The Davidic covenant promises to Israel a political, religious, visible earthly kingdom, and God personally guaranteed that it would endure forever and that all nations would be blessed through it, based on His faithfulness.

“I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him, so that my hand shall be established with him; my arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not outwit him; the wicked shall not humble him. I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him. My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers. He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’ And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. My steadfast love I will keep for him forever, and my covenant will stand firm for him. I will establish his offspring forever and his throne as the days of the heavens. If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules, if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes, but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips. Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David. His offspring shall endure forever, his throne as long as the sun before me. Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies.” Selah( Ps 89:20–37)

God spoke through the original inspired author who certainly did not have an ethereal metaphorical Israel in mind when he composed those words. David understood the promises in a matter of fact manner. I have never read a supercessionist reply to these passages that did not cast God in the role of a prankster who deceived David.

Paul writes in Romans that Gentiles are grafted into Israel. This implies God’s chosen people includes the church as well as a remnant of ethnic Israel, now and especially at the Second Coming (Rom 11:26-27, Zec 12:10). While the distinction applies in this current dispensation due to Israel’s supernatural blinding (Rom 11:25; 2 Cor 3:14; Mat 23:39), I believe we merge into one people at Christ’s return. Thus, I commend the holistic view described by Bock and Blaising, “God will save humankind in its ethnic and national plurality. But, He will bless it with the same salvation given to all without distinction; the same, not only in justification and regeneration, but also in sanctification by the indwelling Holy Spirit.”[v] It seems unlikely that ethnicity will much matter upon Christ’s return to rule from Jerusalem.

 

Next week part two picks up with the dispensational philosophy of history.



[i] Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Dispensationalism, (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1995), 148.

[ii] Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 20.

[iii] Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 102.

[iv] Stanley Grenz, David Guretzki and Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 32.

[v] Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1993), 47.

 

About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.

Comments

  1. Chuckles says:

    Chris, I admire your nerve, bringing up this issue. There is so much hostility toward any kind of dispensationalism these days and particularly toward pre-tribulationism, (not that I’m saying you’re pre-trib).

    You are a brave man.

    Israel certainly will be restored, as Israel.

    But I disagree with this statement: “Paul writes in Romans that Gentiles are grafted into Israel.”

    Um, not quite. Paul’s tree allegory in Romans 11 deals with a tree which grows from a root of blessing that begins with Abraham, and runs through Christ. It doesn’t deal with the Church at all but with the fact that Gentiles have been (temporarily) put in the place of Divine blessing which unbelieving Israel once enjoyed. Unbelieving Israel is depicted as the branches that were broken off, not the root or the tree itself. Paul begins his illustration with the words “I am speaking to you who are Gentiles.” He is not addressing his readers as Christians here. He tells us that we, as Gentiles grafted in, should not be arrogant toward the natural branches broken off for their unbelief, but should fear, because Gentile unbelief will cause them also to be broken off. Paul says that the natural branches will be grafted in again, a prophecy of Israel’s restoration, and an implication that the Gentiles will be cut off.

    I agree that the Church hasn’t replaced Israel, but neither will she ever be merged with Israel. The Church is a new creation, the Bride of Christ, God’s heavenly people.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Chuckles — I think the tree is Israel Gentiles are grafted in…

      Dr. Ken Boa explains it quite well in his Romans commentary:

      11:17–22. In this section overall (Rom. 11:11–22), Paul is talking directly to the Gentiles (v. 13): first, to let them know that they have not replaced Israel in God’s plan (vv. 13–16), and now to warn them that lest they consider … the kindness and sternness of God, they also could be cut off as Israel was.
      Paul’s famous image of the cultivated and wild olive trees portrays beautifully what God has done for the Gentiles. Here is how the two types of olive trees compare (Israel is pictured as an olive tree before God in Jer. 11:16):

      Israel Gentiles
      the cultivated olive tree the wild olive tree
      pruned and cultivated to bear much fruit from lack of care in the wild, had never produced fruit
      while the root was good, the branches were failing to be fruitful the root was weak, but had branches which were strong
      the fruitless branches are trimmed, keeping the root, and branches from the wild olive are grafted in fruitless branches are cut off and grafted into the healthy root so that they may begin to bear fruit for the first time

      Normally, the process for turning a wild olive tree into a fruit-bearing tree was to graft a branch from a cultivated tree into the trunk of a wild tree. Here, Paul describes a reverse process, calling his image “contrary to nature” (Rom. 11:24), by saying that God has preserved the holy root, pruned off the worthless branches, and grafted them in so that they could share in the nourishing sap from the olive root. While this is a graphic portrayal of what God has done for the Gentiles—allowing them to share in Israel’s covenant blessings—Paul’s primary point is a warning: Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural [cultivated] branches, he will not spare you [the wild branches] either.
      Nothing has changed here, Paul is saying. Israel is still God’s chosen (elect) nation, the steward of the riches of God. Israel is still, albeit in different form, the fountainhead for the riches of salvation the Gentiles enjoy. The Gentiles have not become the chosen people. In short, he says to the Gentiles, You do not support the root [Israel], but the root supports you.
      C. S. Lewis’s Aslan comes to mind with Paul’s final words. The great beast who could tend the tiniest wound could also shake Narnia with his roar. Kindness and sternness are what the Gentiles must know about the God who has grafted them. Just as his sternness was exercised toward Israel, so it will replace his kindness toward the Gentiles if they become arrogant and do not continue to stand by faith.

      Kenneth Boa and William Kruidenier, vol. 6, Romans, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 342-43.

      • Chuckles says:

        Chris…

        I agree with much of what Boa says in your quote. I’m not in conflict with the idea that Israel is restored, or with Paul’s warning in Romans 11 against Gentile arrogance against Jews.

        Where I differ with you both is in the application of specifics in Paul’s allegory. This isn’t trivial, as demonstrated by you assertion that “Gentiles are grafted into Israel”, which seems to be what leads you to the error that “I believe we merge into one people at Christ’s return”. The Bride of Christ is never “merged” with any other group.

        Since we’re quoting authors here, let me quote W. R. Newell from his commentary on Romans:

        “Now it is important to see that the root is Abraham, the depositary of the promises. The tree
        of Divine blessing grows up by these promises to Abraham, and His Seed, which is Christ. The
        natural branches, that is, those who first partook of the tree’s root and fatness, were Jews. You
        cannot say that the tree is the Jewish nation, but rather that it is those partaking of the Divine blessing
        from Abraham through Christ.
        The most of the Jews were thus, because of unbelief, broken off.
        Those Jews who believed, as we know (the election of grace), came to partake of the heavenly
        calling in the Church “the assembly of God.” Again, when that assembly is taken away to heaven,
        and God grafts back the remnant of the Jewish people, into their former (“their own”) olive tree,
        Divine blessing on earth will have the earthly character it had before Church days: Israel will be
        the land, Jerusalem the city, and the temple- worship the form (see Ezek. 40-48).

        Verse 17: Some of the branches were broken off, and thou, being a wild olive, wast grafted in.

        This simply means that we, as Gentiles, have been set in the place of blessing from Abraham.
        It does not mean that all Gentiles are in the Body of Christ, — for it is not of that Body as such that
        Paul is here speaking: but of Gentiles as having been put into that place of Divine blessing where
        Israel once stood.” (Romans Verse by Verse, pg. 293; bold, mine.)

        I think Newell offers a more biblically consistent view than Boa. And btw, Newell was no supercessionist! Even in 1938, when his commentary was written, he was looking for the soon restoration of Israel as a nation.

        • jaz says:

          There are more Jews in the US alone let alone other nations that there be within the state of Israel.
          What make you of these millions of Jews still scattered.
          The theology that Mr Putman is putting forth avows that It is only the Jews in the geographical location of the Land that composes of Israel.
          Jesus never preached Jewish Nationalism.to the contrary, He opposed that mentality in the Pharisee’s Mat21:43.
          Jews still stumble over the stumbling Block just as Jesus said they would Mat21:44

          There are Jews being converted to Christ among all the nations. This has been so ever since the Gospel begun to be preached in Jerusalem

          • Chuckles says:

            jaz said:

            What make you of these millions of Jews still scattered.

            I shall telleth thee. :) The regathering has only begun. Nobody said it was finished yet.

            The theology that Mr Putman is putting forth avows that It is only the Jews in the geographical location of the Land that composes of Israel.

            You seem to be confusing two issues; ethnic Jewishness vs. national identity. An individual’s identity as a Jew has nothing to do with the restoration of Israel as a nation, a promise that has never been revoked.

            Jesus never preached Jewish Nationalism.to the contrary, He opposed that mentality in the Pharisee’s Mat21:43.

            The kingdom was taken from the unbelieving Pharisees, and will be given to believing Israel when they are restored as a nation. Nothing in The Lord’s rebuke of the Pharisees–even as the leaders of Israel–precludes Israel’s ultimate restoration, or the nullification of the unconditional promises given to them.

            Jews still stumble over the stumbling Block just as Jesus said they would Mat21:44 There are Jews being converted to Christ among all the nations. This has been so ever since the Gospel begun to be preached in Jerusalem

            Of course, but so what? We are still in the Church age (assuming I get this posted before the Rapture). As Paul said, “A partial hardening has happened to Israel…” (Romans 11:25). Mercifully, a few (relatively) Jews are coming to Christ “apart from law”. But the nation as such has remained in unbelief, and will remain so “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” The “fullness of the Gentiles” is the completed Church, the people that James referred to in Acts 15:14 when he said God was “taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name.”

            But that “taking from among the Gentiles” does not continue indefinitely. When “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in”, that is, the full number of Gentiles foreknown by God has come into the Church, “perfecting” (completing) her, the Church will be “caught up” (1st Thess. 4:16, 17). Once the Church is off the earth, the “hardness” is removed from Israel, and the Holy Spirit will again move on the earth through Israel as a nation. The “70th Week” of Daniel will then run its course, just as Daniel prophesied.

            The fact is, national Israel must be restored for the Lord’s prophecy of Matt. 23:39 to be fulfilled. This highlights one of the great ironies perpetuated by those who deny national Israel’s restoration, and hence, stand in opposition to modern Israel. They would seek to prevent the very conditions and events needed for the Lord’s return to the earth: most importantly national Israel’s call to Him!

            That’s a very strange position for a Christian to take.

      • Chuckles says:

        Oh, and just to be very clear, Chris, I not in agreement with jaz says!

  2. jaz says:

    The church is not the state of Israel, and neither is political Zionism, (The Israel of God, His Holy Nation)

    The “commonwealth of Israel” is the company of God’s New testament people, “recipients of all the covenants of promise” Eph2:12. There is no more to be received by anyone… for Christ is the fulfilment of the Fathers Prophets and the Law. He was the Seed of the promises spoken to Abraham Gal3:16 That which was prophesied and pointed out by the Law

    The prophesied Messiah has come and “preached peace to you (Gentiles) who were far away, and peace to you who were near” (Jews) Eph2:17 There is only one Gospel that is preached unto all men, and it favours no man! Grace super-seats Race.

    Jews as Gentiles who are not part of the ‘commonwealth of Israel’ whose Head is The risen Christ (the second Adam) belong to the same order of the first Adam under the reign of Death Rom5:14
    “Sin reigned in death” Rom5:21 in such a state there be no distinction between Jews and Gentiles. All have sinned!
    Jews as gentiles must be grafted into the Olive tree cultivated by God (the Israel of God, His Holy Nation)
    “The scripture has shut up all men under Sin, that the ‘promise by Faith in Jesus Christ’ might be given to those who believe” Gal3:22

    • Cris Putnam says:

      You seem to be a supercessionist but it’s hard to find an actual argument in that post. All the things you wrote can be true but it doesn’t cast doubt on my contention. God still has unfinished business with the descendants of Jacob, the Jewish people. The Davidic covenant was with David’s offspring, not the NT church and is everlasting and irrevocable. Zionism properly defined means the Jewish people have a right to their ancient homeland. It is clear from scripture that God is indeed a zionist in this sense: “I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land,”(Joe 3:2) That doesn’t make sense apart from the actual Jewish homeland and it is a day of the Lord passage.

      • jaz says:

        With all due respect Mr Putman; To keep things in context Joe3:2 is about the ‘great and terrible Day of the Lord’
        Joe3:12,13,14
        The great day of the Lord is the Day of Christ’s return in Gloty with His holy angels, the day when He will judge the whole world, casting his enemies into hell fire and blessing believers with the eternal inheritance in the New heaven and the new earth.
        Peter the Apostle reveals this inheritance to be the believers immediate blessing according to God’s promise 2Pet3:13 The ‘WE’ of Peter’s wording of his letter is inclusive of himself and all new covenant believers and what is to occur on that “Day of the Lord” 2Pet3:10

        The Fathers & prophets spoke in part, Jesus and the Apostolic body revealed the fullness of truth Heb1:1,2

        There is no restoration outside of Christ. Presently the restoration of Jews and Gentiles is as indicated in Joe2:28-32

        Acts2:33,34 reveals the Davidic covenant fulfilled in Christ where He rules from Zion. Jesus sits upon David’s throne Acts2:29,30 Jer30:9 Jer33:31-33
        It was never prophesied to be an earthly throne as was in the OT, but the heavenly one, from whence He comes to judge the living and the dead 2Tim4:1
        That is what Peter the Apostle is saying concerning David’s throne when addressing the crowd in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.
        There is no mention of an earthly throne to be set up in some future time.

        Zionism is an ‘earthly political movement with it’s roots way before 1948, and it’s objective is to restore the Jewish race to their ancient Land which has nothing to do with Jesus christ!.. because Zionism is contrary to the Messianic ministry of Jesus who came and ‘fulfilled’ the restoration as prophesied in Joe2:28-32
        There is no restoration outside of Christ. Presently the restoration of Jews and Gentiles is as indicated in Joe2:28-32 “By One Spirit”
        One can look upon Israel according to race as does Zionism, or one can look upon Israel according to Grace as does Jesus and His Apostles. I choose the latter because it is the truth of the matter. Nothing has altered the teachings of Christ and that of His Apostles concerning Israel until Zionism. As I have pointed out it is a political system that predated 1948.

        • cyberpriest says:

          Jaz; I agree. If Zionism was of God, then there would be an openness to the Gospel. It’s been over 70 years now that Israel became the homeland of a fragment of Jews from among the nations as you rightly say, and they still oppose the Lord Jesus to this day. The Israeli Government belongs to the Devil like any other Government of the world. 1John5:19. The government of God is not of this world, never will be. Those who believe that, are believing in Jewish fables like the Rabbis of Judaism do to this day. They can’t see the Messiah crying (it is finished) that is to say: Father; my ministry upon the earth is finished. the reality is that Jews like Gentiles don’t believe that, except for a few that do.

          • Chuckles says:

            cyberpriest said:

            It’s been over 70 years now that Israel became the homeland of a fragment of Jews from among the nations as you rightly say, and they still oppose the Lord Jesus to this day.

            Actually, from 1948 to 2013 would be… about 65 years. (My computer gots a calculator! :) )

            How much time do you think they should have?

            Ezekiel’s prophecy indicates that Israel would be regathered in unbelief, but that condition isn’t permanent (Ezek. 37:2-5). The fact is, it will take no less than the full course of Daniel’s 70th Week (aka: the Tribulation) to bring them around to saying “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matt. 23:39). That, in fact, is one of the purposes of the Tribulation; getting them to acknowledge their Messiah. (Btw, I also suspect that is the real point of Matt. 24:34. Compare with Matt.12:39. “Generation” in both texts is from the very same Greek word.)

            The government of God is not of this world, never will be.

            Not of this age, no. But Israel’s very purpose is and has always been to be God’s kingdom on the earth (as opposed to the Church; God’s kingdom in Heaven).

            Keeping the whole counsel of God in view will make it easier to see that God is not finished with national Israel.

          • cyberpriest says:

            Chuckles; please tell me; when the fulness of the gentiles come in and the church supposedly raptured who are the all Israel that will be saved? is it the Jews in the Land or is it all the jews from all the nations also with them ?

            Did you know that Rom11:26,27 refers to the first coming of Jesus as prophesied By Isa59:20,21 in fulfilment of the eternal covenant by the Blood of messiah!

            There is only ‘One covenant that takes away their sins’ Right!

          • hopeful_watcher says:

            Chuckles wrote: “Not of this age, no. But Israel’s very purpose is and has always been to be God’s kingdom on the earth”

            If this is the case than why does new Jerusalem descend from heaven? Why is it, “thy kingdom come”? Israel was given the land of milk and honey, but when they were given over to Egyptians or the Babylonians, they were still Israel, just misplaced.

            My point is Israel has less to do with a location or resources and more to do with the covenant and the group who accepts that covenant. Any location or resources given to the group who enters in the covenant is given by God and not by their own will or power.

  3. Bob says:

    There is not a hint in the NT that the Jewish believers in Christ should expect God to give the ‘land’ back to the Jews. Just the opposite. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, but those who believe and those who don’t. Those on the narrow path and those on the broad path, those in the kingdom and those out of the kingdom.
    In Hebrews the matter is settled. “Here we have no lasting city.” And: “you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…” And: “Jerusalem above, she is our mother.”
    Jesus clearly taught that “Jerusalem would be trampled by the gentiles until the times of the gentiles are fulfilled”…meaning until the gospel of the kingdom is proclaimed to all the nations. Matthew 24:14 is the parallel verse to Luke 21:24. According to our Lord, He is no longer interested in the geography in Palestine. His Kingdom is not of this world.
    The danger of this doctrine is that it holds out a second chance not only to Jews who doubt the gospel of Jesus Christ, but also to gentiles who are being told by dispensationalists that live will go on after Jesus returns. Today is the day of salvation. Jesus words to the Jews in His day are just as valid today, “Unless you believe I AM HE you will die in your sins.” John 8:24.
    When Jesus returns, there remains no longer a sacrifice for sins. Hebrews 9:27.
    Jesus and the Apostles are the last Word on the OT prophecies. They are the final interpreters. There is no hint in the words of Jesus or Revelation that God plans to reestablish His covenant with earthly Israel. Actually Rev. 2:9 and 3:9 call the Jews the synagogue of Satan. They are opposed to the gospel to this day and continue to keep Jews from entering in.

    • Chuckles says:

      Bob said:

      There is not a hint in the NT that the Jewish believers in Christ should expect God to give the ‘land’ back to the Jews.

      Nothing in the NT cancels God’s unconditional promises to restore the nation of Israel. On the contrary, there is much more than a “hint” in the NT that national Israel will be restored. Romans 9-11 is a blatantly clear statement of it. Paul’s whole point in that passage is that the Jews as a people–Israel as a nation–have not been permanently rejected, but only set aside temporarily, being “partially hardened” until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

      There is no longer Jew or Gentile, but those who believe and those who don’t.

      That is true of the Church, those “in Christ”. In the Church age, believers are “all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:27, 28). But outside of the Church there is still Jew and Gentile. After the Rapture of the Church, when the 70th Seven of Daniel commences, the Jews as a nation will be dealt with by God to bring them to faith in their Messiah, who they will finally recognize and call upon “after the tribulation of those days”.

      The danger of this doctrine is that it holds out a second chance not only to Jews who doubt the gospel of Jesus Christ, but also to gentiles who are being told by dispensationalists that live will go on after Jesus returns.

      Evidently, your view of “[life going] on after Jesus returns” is based on a post-trib Rapture scenario. Life will certainly continue on earth after the Church is caught up to heaven, though it will be more comparable to hell on earth, getting worse all the time until the Tribulation ends. But, as for 2nd chances, why do you have something against them? Do you really suppose you never had more than one chance in your life to believe on the blood of Christ? (I’m assuming that you do believe.)

      When Jesus returns, there remains no longer a sacrifice for sins. Hebrews 9:27.

      Hebrews 9:27 refers to the death of the individual, not to Christ’s return. The passage is about the on-going sacrifices that the Law required as contrasted with what they signified; The once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The passage has no bearing on dispensationalism or the Rapture.

      Jesus and the Apostles are the last Word on the OT prophecies. They are the final interpreters.

      Agreed. All the more reason to reject supercessionist assumptions, and read what Jesus and the Apostles actually said as it is written.

      There is no hint in the words of Jesus or Revelation that God plans to reestablish His covenant with earthly Israel.

      Such a statement denies what is evident from a straightforward reading of the passages, and assumes that “Israel” is a synonymous term for “the Church” (if not for all believers). But that is merely assuming what one is trying to prove. Unless specifically modified in a given context, the term “Israel” in fact means Israel; the nation, which God Promised to restore.

      Rev. 2:9 and 3:9 call the Jews the synagogue of Satan. They are opposed to the gospel to this day and continue to keep Jews from entering in.

      “To this day”, yes, but we are still in the Church age. That will end at the Rapture, after which God will resume dealing with His earthly people.

      Yes, they are currently hostile to the Gospel. Paul said so in Romans 11:28, wherein he also said “from the standpoint of God’s choice they [Israel] are beloved for the sake of the fathers”. God’s sovereign choice and the integrity of His very WORD are invested in restoring Israel as a nation in spite of their unbelief. He has promised it, and He will not fail to do it.

      I would respond to several other statements made in this thread, but there seems to be no “reply” button for many of them. Let it suffice to say that–from what I’ve seen–the objections presented here to the pre-trib Rapture, to Dispensationalism itself, and especially to the place of modern Israel as fulfilling prophecy, are based on poorly thought out arguments based on superficial readings of Scripture verses taken out of context. There is also displayed a reflexive tendency on the part of some to read “Israel” in NT passages and think “Church”. Such is evidence of views based on man’s traditions, not on an unbiased reading of Scripture.

      One last thing: It has been implied by some here (not Bob) and elsewhere, that Dispensationalism and/or the Pre-Trib Rapture are ideas planted by Roman Catholics, specifically the Jesuits. This seems to be because a lone Jesuit happened to have some eschatological ideas which fit in with Dispensationalism/Pre-Trib-ism. The absurd implication is that Dispensationalism/Pre-Trib-ism came out of The Roman Catholic Church! As an EX-Catholic I can tell you that that is nonsense. The RC church is solidly amillennial, making such ideas as Dispensationalism/Pre-Trib-ism impossible for them to accept. “Jesuit plot” indeed! :D

      • Cris Putnam says:

        One last thing: It has been implied by some here (not Bob) and elsewhere, that Dispensationalism and/or the Pre-Trib Rapture are ideas planted by Roman Catholics, specifically the Jesuits. This seems to be because a lone Jesuit happened to have some eschatological ideas which fit in with Dispensationalism/Pre-Trib-ism. The absurd implication is that Dispensationalism/Pre-Trib-ism came out of The Roman Catholic Church! As an EX-Catholic I can tell you that that is nonsense. The RC church is solidly amillennial, making such ideas as Dispensationalism/Pre-Trib-ism impossible for them to accept. “Jesuit plot” indeed! :D

        Exactly — the Jesuit conspiracy theorists’ accounting of dispensatonlaism references the book my Manuel Lacunza as their basis. He was a Jesuit priest who decided to use only the Bible to determine an eschatology system and came up with one that inspired people like Darby. What they ignore is the RCC placed Lacunza’s book on the list of prohibited books and censored him. They opposed his ideas and even burned his books, so the so called conspiracy is incoherent.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      There is not a hint in the NT that the Jewish believers in Christ should expect God to give the ‘land’ back to the Jews.

      But there are two testaments not one. You need to account for this Day of the Lord passage: “I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land,” (Joe 3:2)

      There is no longer Jew or Gentile,

      Category error, you conflate salvation and covenant promises. God’s extending salvation to all peoples does not negate his promises to descendants of Jacob and David.

      There is no hint in the words of Jesus or Revelation that God plans to reestablish His covenant with earthly Israel.

      There’s no hint anywhere he ever broke it, so why would he need to reestablish it?

      “If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules, if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes, but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips. Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David.” (Ps 89:30-35)

  4. louthesaint says:

    Jaz said; (One can look upon Israel according to race as does Zionism, or one can look upon Israel according to Grace as does Jesus and His Apostles. I choose the latter because it is the truth of the matter.)

    I have heard about flesh and grace how they oppose each other, but I never looked at it that way before. Race or Grace, and they also oppose. It obviously can’t be both.

    Apostle Paul speaks of two Israel also, in Rom9:6 he says, “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel” obviously from looking at Vs8 he speaks of the children of the flesh as not being the children of God, but it is the ‘Children of promise that are regarded as descendants Rom9:8
    So, here we have Israel after the flesh and Israel after Grace But the former, those of the flesh count for none. The promise don’t belong to them.

    Therefore; the true Israel are not those of the Flesh, the race, but those of grace according to the promise given to Abraham Rom9:9

    That certainly throws a new light upon Zionism and the whole jewish thing for me. wow great discussion.

    • Chuckles says:

      louthesaint said:

      I have heard about flesh and grace how they oppose each other, but I never looked at it that way before.

      Actually, it is law and Grace which are opposed (mutually exclusive).

      Race or Grace, and they also oppose.

      Huh? Where is that said in Scripture? The idea of “race” (I assume you mean “ethnicity”) is not “opposed” to Grace, but irrelevant to it. Israel’s restoration is not a matter of “race” per se, but of God’s unconditional promises–the very epitome of Grace–to them as a people.

      Apostle Paul speaks of two Israel also, in Rom9:6 he says, “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel”

      In that passage Paul dealt with the fact that being an ethnic Israelite does not guarantee salvation, but one must be a believing Israelite. Paul’s remark is made in the context of refuting the idea that–because some (most) did not believe and were hence “cut off”–that the nation was permanently rejected by God. Such an idea would negate God’s promises to restore the nation as such, an unthinkable affront to God’s integrity.

      obviously from looking at Vs8 he speaks of the children of the flesh as not being the children of God

      No, Paul speaks of the “children of the flesh” as not being necessarily the children of God simply by virtue of their ethnicity. But that is not to say that the “believing remnant” are not children of God. And notice, it’s still Israel to which Paul refers in that passage.

      Now, it is true that in the Church age, Jews can be saved. But during the Church age they must come to God–not as Jews–but in the same way that Gentiles must come (Gal.2:14-21); as individual sinners, trusting in the shed blood of Christ, risen with Christ and hence, dead to the Law (Romans 7:1-6), being made a “new creature” in Christ, leaving the whole Levitical system behind as any advantage in Christ; in whom there is neither Jew nor Gentile.

      We must remember that Paul’s subject in Romans 9-11is not the Church, but Israel. Paul is addressing “believers from among the Gentiles” as Gentiles (Romans 11:13) regarding the proper attitude to have toward the nation of Israel in view of God’s ultimate purpose for Israel; eventual restoration. It is critical to see that to interpret the passage properly.

      That certainly throws a new light upon Zionism and the whole jewish thing

      Your statement underlines the importance of getting the true meaning these passages straight in our minds. Supercessionism leads to anti-Israel-ism, even antisemitism. Both are signs of the (end) times.

      • jaz says:

        Chuckles; you are not addressing the scriptures at all. You are placing your theological precepts upon them. You say: ((No, Paul speaks of the “children of the flesh” as not being necessarily the children of God simply by virtue of their ethnicity. But that is not to say that the “believing remnant” are not children of God. And notice, it’s still Israel to which Paul refers in that passage))

        “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel” obviously from looking at Vs8 he speaks of the children of the flesh as not being the children of God, but it is the ‘Children of promise that are regarded as descendants” Rom9:8

        That scripture is revealing one truth and one truth only. That there is only ‘One Israel’ that God classifies as His children and it is those who are in christ the promised Seed of Abraham, head of the commonwealth of Israel (God;s new testament People, His Chosen Race) 1Pet2:9
        Any jew like any gentile ‘Not in Christ’ and not part of that Chosen race!
        In God sight. the ‘natural Jew’ is not a descendant of Abraham according to the promise. It is thus no more of the flesh but of Grace. That is what Paul is saying Nothing more. You are twisting the Apostle’s words in your statement above!
        But what does the scripture say: “Cast out the bond woman and her son (natural Israel after the flesh) the son of the bond womanSHALL NOT be heir with the son of the free woman” (the Children of the promise fulfilled in Christ, Abraham’s seed) Gal4:30

        Your theology says that the natural descendants are still heirs and that they will ‘all’ be saved. No!
        ‘The Israel of God’ will be saved by Grace composed of Jews and gentiles Grafted into the Olive tree (the commonwealth of Israel Eph2:12-14

        • jaz says:

          Chuckles;You are whitewashing the Grace of God with Rabbinical teachings.

          You are opposing The words of the Apostle Gal4:30 by insisting that natural Israel Is to obtain and inherit that which God has freely granted to the election by grace and thus nullifying the rest.

          You have no understanding of grace at all, for you admit in your statement above, the doctrine of a second chance to those whom God has barred of any inheritance ((But, as for 2nd chances, why do you have something against them?)) Nobody has anything against the Jews, God bless them that they may look upon Him. There is only Grace, not chances! There is only Today not tomorrow!

          • Cris Putnam says:

            jaz – You tend to over spiritualize the concept of Israel based on a couple passages dealing with salvation. The “Israel of God” likely referred to Jewish Christians and that’s all that was meant by it. You seem to just ignore the Old testament like the Davidic covenant which made specific promises to David’s descendants. You can’t make Romans 9-11 just about spiritual Israel either because Paul wrote things like: “As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.” (Ro 11:28)

          • Chuckles says:

            Jaz said:

            Nobody has anything against the Jews, God bless them that they may look upon Him. There is only Grace, not chances! There is only Today not tomorrow!

            How do you know there’s “only Today not tomorrow”? We’re told not to wait until tomorrow, (2nd Cor. 6:2), but that doesn’t mean there won’t necessarily be tomorrow. But anyway, you misunderstand my question. I was asking what you had against second chances, not what you had against the Jews.

            Nobody has anything against the Jews? Are you serious? Israel is literally surrounded by mortal enemies–of the Jews! As scattered among the nations, they have been persecuted for centuries. It hasn’t let up. Even the visible so-called “church” has persecuted them.

            I will take at face value your implication that you are not against them, but then why do you deny God’s unconditional promises to them?

            You are opposing The words of the Apostle Gal4:30 by insisting that natural Israel Is to obtain and inherit that which God has freely granted to the election by grace and thus nullifying the rest.

            I’m having difficulty untangling that statement. The “rest” of what?

            Oh, heck, it’s a holiday. Let me take a stab at answering what little I can make of it anyway. First off, everybody–everybody–who believes in the sacrifice of Christ is saved by God’s grace. Every sinner who ever received, has, or will receive salvation receives it by faith in the shed blood of Christ, whether they look forward or backward in time to the cross. That includes the believing nation of Israel. Israel was put under the Law of Moses (including the Decalog) by God, He knowing that they would fail nationally as a witness to the world that keeping God’s Law is impossible for sinful man, and that no one can be saved in any other way than by God’s grace, revealed “in the fullness of time” in the provision of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. That was part of Israel’s witness to the world. Having failed completely, they will be restored by God’s grace as a testimony to the world of God’s integrity.

            Consider Romans 11:12…

            “Now if their [Israel’s] transgression be riches for the world and their failure be riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be?” (Bold, mine.)

            That Scripture makes no sense unless it is recognized that “their” refers to Israel, the nation. The context of Romans 9-11 makes that evident.

            As for Gal. 4:30, in that context Paul is contrasting those who wish to be “under law” to those who would rest in Christ’s shed blood only. The “bondwoman’s son” (representing the former group) refers to unbelievers; those who would seek to be justified by law, who by instinct persecute those who would rest in Christ alone. In the immediate context, Israel “after the flesh” is in view (though the broader principle is “works righteousness” vs. righteousness by faith). It is believing Israel that is restored; though the regathering of the nation begins with them in unbelief. I went through all that already.

            It’s obvious you miss the point of much of what I’ve posted (not to mention the main point of Romans 9-11), so I won’t re-restate what I’ve already said. I’m afraid it is you who is “not addressing the scriptures at all. You are placing your theological precepts upon them.”

      • louthesaint says:

        Chuckles ; I was inferring to flesh As the natural jewish race, as you say ‘ethnicity’ in contrast to The new man of Faith by Grace.
        When you say: regarding the proper attitude to have toward the ‘nation of Israel’ in view of God’s ultimate purpose for Israel; eventual restoration. But you say that Israel is already a sovereign Nation, obviously you must be referring to something beyond political Zionism.
        I said: “That certainly throws a new light upon Zionism and the whole Jewish thing” because Jaz said: that ‘there is no restoration outside of Christ’ and I agree with that. The restoration is not to the Land but to God by Christ’s mediation. many Jews dwell outside the confines of the Land and belong to Christ. They has been truly restored indeed.

        Is it not true that the whole Messianic ministry has to do with salvation. Has not Christ died for sinners. is not the restoration “peace with God for Jews and Gentiles alike” Eph2:17 That is the Gospel that Christ and His Apostles preached.

        • Chuckles says:

          louthesaint said:

          When you say: regarding the proper attitude to have toward the ‘nation of Israel’ in view of God’s ultimate purpose for Israel; eventual restoration. But you say that Israel is already a sovereign Nation, obviously you must be referring to something beyond political Zionism.

          Israel’s full restoration involves their identity as a nation, as well as their restoration to their intended relationship to God, which involves their recognition of their Messiah; “Whom they pierced”. The nation of modern Israel–the “political entity”–is currently in unbelief, yes. But many seem to assume that because Israel currently does not believe, that that unbelief disqualifies them from being the fulfillment of prophecy. On the contrary, Ezekiel’s prophecy indicates that they would first be gathered in unbelief (Eze. 37:7, 8), and such is Israel today. A “political entity” (the nation) had to be in place before there could even be any national repentance; anything to receive “breath”. That “political entity” has been in place since 1948. What amazes me is how so many (not just here) assume that just because Israel hasn’t met their expected timetable, God isn’t in it. As I said before, the purpose of the Tribulation (Daniel’s 70th week) is for God to deal with Israel regarding their view of Him and His Son, the One sent almost 2000 years ago.

          I said: “That certainly throws a new light upon Zionism and the whole Jewish thing” because Jaz said: that ‘there is no restoration outside of Christ’ and I agree with that.

          Define “outside of Christ”. Does that mean outside the Church, the Bride of Christ? If so, it is false. It is certainly true that no one is saved by anything else than faith in Christ’s shed blood. But that not all believers are of the Church is evident. Only since Pentecost have believers been indwelt–sealed–by the Spirit of God. The NT Church is unique in that respect. Only in the NT Church are Jews and Gentiles “brought near” by Christ, to be made into “one new man” (Eph. 2:13-16). The Church is an entity distinct from Gentiles or Israel, as I’ve already pointed out.

          But, God’s unconditional promises to Israel require that Israel be restored fully, as a nation in order for those promises to be kept. (That is also why the Church must be off the earth while God deals with (and through) Israel during the “70th seven”.)

          Is it not true that the whole Messianic ministry has to do with salvation. Has not Christ died for sinners. is not the restoration “peace with God for Jews and Gentiles alike” Eph2:17 That is the Gospel that Christ and His Apostles preached.

          Certainly, but how does any of that prevent God from keeping His unconditional promises to Israel as such? Just because God saves by One Sacrifice, doesn’t mean that all are saved for the same roles in Heaven, or on the New Earth.

          I’ll say it one more time, hoping it’ll stick: God’s integrity–the fact that He is the God of Truth, in fact is the Truth–is invested in keeping His promises, including His unconditional promises to Israel.

          I cannot overemphasize that fact.

      • Cris Putnam says:

        Chuckles I think you understand Romans 9-11 basically correct. I like most of what have written.

  5. James says:

    I have been receiving e-mails from a previous old post, and I haven’t read the recent blog. Everything we have been discussing in the old article is relevant. I posted last night an e-mail to Cris for his approval on a web-site which I am still going through, which I find very enlightening. It is written by Dr. Don Samdahl, and he discusses many of the scriptures and thoughts on this topic. I believe if one were to go to his web-site and read this one article it makes a very good case toward the “Dispensational” view. The article is The Church (the Body of Christ). I clearly believe in a distinction between the Body of Christ and Israel God Bless, James His site is doctrine.org

  6. James says:

    Chuckles, I just want to let you know that you have a strong basis in scripture. Grounded in the word. Although there might be just a slight difference between your view and Cris about the difference between Israel and the Body of Christ moving toward eternity. I will say boldly like the article for this blog more or less says, You can’t understand the scriptures, you can’t rightly divide the word unless you realize the Lord deals with mankind in dispensations. The Apostle Paul who calls it “My Gospel”, who is the apostle to the gentiles, I believe mentions dispensation four times in his epistles. Throughout scripture the Lord has dealt with mankind in different ways or dispensations. God bless, James

    • Chuckles says:

      James… You’re correct about CP’s ecclesiology vs. mine (Hi, Cris!). That was evident to me early on when Cris mentioned his leaning toward “the holistic view described by Bock and Blaising” (progressive dispensationalism, or PD).

      Cris does a great job of countering RC’s heretical doctrines. As an EX-Catholic, I appreciate his ministry.

      But where eschatology is concerned, we differ on several issues. I found that out reading Petrus Romanus.

      • Cris Putnam says:

        So do you hold the classic dispensationalist view with the earthly people (Israel) and heavenly people (Church)? This is explained in the latest post. I disagree with the radical split and I think the progressive view is more biblical.

        • Chuckles says:

          Cris, I’m pretty much in what you mentioned as the Walvoord camp, though I’m not sure his qualifications of a few of Darby’s views constitutes a whole ‘nuther category (what you termed “revised”). It’s amazing how well Darby’s eschatology has stood up.

          I disagree with the radical split

          Why? “What distinctions God has separated, let no man squish together.” (I made that up.)

          I think the progressive view is more biblical.

          And so we disagree. ;)

          Having begun a search of its history, so far PD looks to me like one of those questionable compromises that groups of people come to when they “dialogue” to try to seek “consensus”, instead of seeking to determine what God has said about the matter. PD’s roots don’t look too good. :^p

          • jaz says:

            It’s amazing Isn’t; How we follow Darby, Scofield, Walvoord, ect rather than The Apostolic body instituted by Christ.

          • Chuckles says:

            jaz said:

            t’s amazing Isn’t; How we follow Darby, Scofield, Walvoord, ect rather than The Apostolic body instituted by Christ.

            Again, you miss the point. I don’t “follow Darby, Scofield, Walvoord, ect”. I think their views of Scripture on these issues have much greater merit than the views of their opponents, which views you seem to hold. The more biblical research I do, the more their views (Darby, Scofield, Walvoord, ect) are confirmed, for the most part. Where they are not, I go with the Bible.

            Would you have us believe that you are completely uninfluenced by any commentator you’ve ever read? You expect me to believe you have had no help at all in arriving at your own views?

            Somehow, I can’t help but doubt that.

          • Cris Putnam says:

            “I disagree with the radical split”

            Why? “What distinctions God has separated, let no man squish together.” (I made that up.)

            Do you realize that according to Darby, we will not be on earth at all during the millennial reign?

  7. chris says:

    Mons. Balducchi is hardly a representitive and/or official voice for and of the catholic church. I find it ironic that after spending a like of pointing out catholic error, you have chosen it/them to make a basis for your end time ideas.

  8. James says:

    Cris, If your last post was directed to me. I do lean toward a separate people, but I am a layman who is working his way through this. I read the piece yesterday. I will go back and re-read it, but can you point to real quick the scripture references you would sight for this bringing the two people groups together? Thanks, James

    • Cris Putnam says:

      real quick the scripture references you would sight for this bringing the two people groups together?

      We are grafted into the same tree as per Romans 11:11-24. And things like: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”(Ga 3:28) And “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,(Re 5:9)

      • James says:

        Cris, I may take things to the max, but If one looks at 1 Corinthians 10:32 in the literal sense. Are three people groups shown? If Israel becomes the Head of the Nations and if there are Gentile Nations which repopulate the earth during the 1,000 year reign, then where is the Body of Christ during these soon coming times? We are a New Creation (His Body) ???? Food for Thought..God Bless, James

  9. jaz says:

    Chuckles;
    I cannot take the time required to show the loose ends of your theology.

    1.The thing to ponder Is Paul’s statement; “Not all Israel is Israel” To grasp what the Apostle is saying washes away most of your theology about The natural descendants being heirs of the Promise to Abraham.
    The question you must ask is; Who then is Israel if not all of Israel? to be sure it is this Israel (the gracious remnant) which is the “all Israel” which will be saved along with the gentiles grafted in with them. It is they that constitute the figurative “Olive tree”
    Any Jew not grafted back into the olive tree, is no part of it! they remain outside of the promise made to Abraham.

    2. Rom11;26 Says “and thus all Israel will be saved” or “and So all Israel will be saved” That is indicative of -How- (the fashion) by which all Israel will be saved and not -when- It does not refer to A futuristic period as you suggest.
    If that would have been the case The scripture would say; And ‘Then’ all Israel will be saved.

    This latter statement using ‘ and then’ instead of ‘andThus’ is often used By the futurist Theology to further their view. But it is wrong. There; in that change from Thus to then the whole passage takes another thread and is twisted out of it’s context.
    The fact is; that the following verses, Rom11:26,27 indicate that it is by the ‘New covenant’ and it’s effectiveness of taking away sins as prophesied By Isa59:20,21 that is referred by ‘Thus’ .

    In other words it is the already shed blood of the “eternal covenant” of Messiah’s ministry already fulfilled that the ‘Thus referrers.
    Fact is; that The deliverer ‘has come’ already as prophesied That is what Paul is saying and it is by the efficacy of that covenant that ‘all Israel’ will be saved. For that is the only possible way that Jews can be grafted back in, it is By faith in the finished work of Atonement.

    • Chuckles says:

      Jaz, this is getting ridiculous. The points in you message above have been addressed in what I’ve already posted.

      Near as I can tell, you seem to be under the impression that I’m claiming that every Israelite (Jew) ever born will be saved. I’m not. The restoration of the nation of Israel doesn’t involve that. It involves the believing Remnant which are not saved as “new creations” in Christ (the Church), but come to faith after the Church is removed from the earth. You also seem to think–evidenced by your point of Romans 11:26, 27–that I believe they are saved by something other than faith in the cross of Christ. I don’t. This remnant does indeed believe in the same Sacrifice relied on by believers who are part of the Church (in which there is neither Jew nor Gentile). But they are saved as the nation of Israel_retaining their identity as Israelites–by coming to faith in Him (finally) as their Messiah.

      Read your reference to Isaiah 59:20,21 again. It speaks of Zion (which is located in the Land of Israel), Jacob (the name for Israel when they’re out of fellowship with God). These are all references to Israel, the nation, not to Jews who become part of the Church.

      jaz, you obviously don’t get my points at all, and it’s beginning to appear to me that your problem is rooted in the failure to recognize the Scriptural differences which distinguish Israel from the NT Church.

      I wish you well, but I can’t make it any clearer than I have. (Such are my own short-comings.) If you don’t see it, you don’t. Undoubtedly, I certainly do have “loose ends” in my “theology”. And yet I have a firm grasp on God’s promises to restore His earthly people. So, there is that.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Dispensationalism: the Key to Bible Prophecy (part 1) – More accurate would be the headline: “Dispensationalism: The key to the Modern Prophecy Industry.”  Although the author does admit that dispensationalism–which is not in the Bible–was “recovered” in the 1800s.  Many things were “recovered” in the 1800s.  The Protestant churches “recovered” Jesuit teachings for use in Bible prophecy in the 1800s.  Also recovered were the corrupted Greek texts which led to the flood of corrupted, New Age Bibles of our own times. […]

Speak Your Mind